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Everything posted by Felix

  1. I too noticed the wording has changed and then the doubts started to creep in. Have I been putting the figure in the wrong box all this time (Tax Office told me it went in Box 2TS several years ago) ... should I go and ask again or just enter it as usual. My figure is so small not going to make much difference so to hell with it, Box 2TS it is.
  2. Each year our top up insurance co send us a figure to put onto our tax form (we are registered in the BIC micro regime).  I have never been really sure where to put the figure on the form but just hoped I had got it right.  Just got the letter from our mutual for this May's tax form so just thought I would ask if anyone knows which box to put this figure in.   It could be a visit to the tax office in May to ask the question once and for all, but having been down this road for something else and being told completely wrong I do not hold out much faith!! 
  3. We are not with booking.com but we always take 1 night deposit via Paypal (guests pay the small charge).  We normally tell them they have 48 hours to pay the deposit and if a last min booking 24 hours (or immediate if very short notice).  If they do not pay us within these times we send them an e-mail saying that as no deposit has been made we cannot confirm the booking and the room has gone back on as available to other enquiries.  Often this works and after some excuse as to why they had not paid, up it pops.  If not then they were just wasting your time.  We have found in general the French do not like paying deposits and as soon as you reply and mention Paypal that is the last you will hear (obviously have exceptions as if they really want to come they will pay straight away).  French often prefer to go down the old route of sending a cheque, bless!  Still they usually turn out to be the best behaved guests.  So no deposit and they do not come is our motto. We also state on our website that if they reduce the number of nights booked after arrival they are to pay for the nights originally booked as I fell once for the trick of booking 2 nights last min over the phone, then as they walked in the gate they announced they were only going to stay 1 night (we do not take 1 nighters) and of course I could have filled that room after accepting their booking. Luckily so far we have never had a "no show" but no doubt there will always be a first. 
  4. Next time (and I am sure there will be one) we will do the same and throw them out.  You do also have to consider the other guests whose holiday may be spoilt having to sit at breakfast and share their space with such people.  Some friends of ours had a table d'hote with the same sort of guy and everyone had to put up with him at the dinner table.  Our friend could take no more one night and in the morning he was told to leave.  At dinner that night all the guests cheered when they received the news that he would not be joining them!!  Now looking forward to more lovely repeat guests arriving today who we can have a laugh with, share a bottle (or two) of wine and who make the job of letting people into our home all worth while.  Cheers to the rest of the summer!
  5. We have just had the most unpleasant and rude guest to have arrived at our chambres d'hote in 10 years.  Why do these people think they can arrive at your home and treat you in this way.  If people are pleasant and smile then they receive the same back.  This guy was obnoxious from the moment he arrived which was late and in the dark.  We thought we would give him the benefit of the doubt as no doubt tired but of course his manner was obviously that way all the time and in fact it got worse.  He suddenly announced he would not be wanting breakfast the next day (thought he was telling me he was leaving), no, they had decided to drive South and visit 3 other places in one day (a good 3.5 hour drive away in middle of August).  Tried to explain the distances but was told that in his country they drive hours to get to places (but not on winding country roads).  Anyway he must of taken something onboard as then announced he was going to stay overnight but not to let his room as they would be leaving things here and come back in a day or so.  No offer to pay for the 7 nights he had booked with us.  Seemed to not appreciate in the morning that we were not prepared to let him disappear into the depths of France without paying in full for the 7 nights booked and also our request that he leave our keys with us.  He then asked how he was to get back into our home .... by ringing the door bell!!!!!  Hence this was the longest 7 nights of our lives and he will not be on our Christmas card list.  Now waiting for his TA review, but perhaps TA should do a review site for us chambres d'hote owners ..... it can work both ways!!!  Now got happy smiley repeat guests for next few weeks which makes it all worthwhile.
  6. Thank you for all the info and figures, very impressive.  We also do not have credit card facilities and use Paypal which works well for deposits.  We did wonder how the deposit payment worked. We still feel perhaps it is not for us as we only have the 2 rooms and it is not our main source of income (although of course we obviously like to see the rooms busy), but we can see it works wells for larger establishments that rely on max capacity to earn their living.  Going back to the problem with that certain website, having checked we found that out of 7 adverts on their site for our area, 5 had VF phone number on them and only 2 had the owners phone number showing.  So if like us those 7 find out and remove their adverts then they only have 2 B&B's for our area.  Not at all a good way of running a business and our advertising money will be going elsewhere. 
  7. Hopefully Visit France will now remove us from their site as not good if people think we are not responding (but like you I somehow doubt if there even is a genuine enquiry).  We too have had similar experiences with another website.  You seem to be a convert to the likes of Booking.com although I am still to be convinced.  What happens if a potential guest cancels?  I read a forum (from the other side of the coin) where a guest who used booking.com was saying how good it was because he cancelled at the last min because the restaurant down the road from his chosen hotel was not open and that was the main reason for him staying there so he cancelled at the last min with no cancellation fee.  Very worrying!!  Also we do like having personal contact with guests who are booking (after all they are staying in our home) which presumably you do not get with these companies??  We have guests from all over the world via our own website which is always on 1st page of google.  These new sites are not going to go away so I fear we will have to join them eventually as everything changes and in the end you have to try other ways of marketing.  This year is proving how tight things really are out there.  Several gites we "property manage" have had empty weeks in July and the owners have had to put special offers on to try and fill them.  In our 11 years of running our maintenance business we have never seen so many properties with empty weeks in July - also quite a few cancellations which of course could be due to many reasons.  Going to be interesting in the future how we have to adapt our marketing.  Every year you have to keep on top of it and work out who is working for you and who is not.  Just never liked paying a company commission when we have in the past produced our own bookings .... but times are no doubt changing and no doubt we will have to change with it and, like you, become a convert. 
  8. We decided back in Dec not to renew our adverts with Visit France as they were no longer producing enough enquiries to warrant their annual fee and hardly ever seemed to appear on the 1st page of google any more.   They have just sent me an e-mail to say I have recieved an enquiry which I have to log on to read.   Of course I can no longer log on.  A ploy to get me to pay them to renew my advert no doubt.  Having looked at their site our B&B advert is still being shown but they have of course removed any reference to our own website but added a phone number which is not ours, but direct to Visit France.  I have of course told them to take us off their site immediately.  Not good if potential guests see us, enquire and hear nothing back.  Surely if you decide not to renew your advert you should be removed immediately and this is totally underhand.  Seems it is just a way of keeping more properties on their possibly failing rental website business.  Wonder how many more properties on their site no longer are actually paying to be on there.
  9. [quote user="Russethouse"]Time to investigate good quality mattress protectors ?[/quote] Of course we use mattress protectors but unfortunately we did not have the waterproof one on this bed at the time.  They do tend to make people sweat when it is hot, but agree the Carrefour ones are the best and no noise.  Will probably now always put the waterproof ones on (possibly with another normal one on top), if they moan they sweat then too bad.  Sometimes you just have to try and safeguard yourself against people who just have no idea that it is your home they are abusing. 
  10. We had an incident this weekend, first in 10 years, where a young couple had booked in for 3 nights and on arrival I was told they were going to a local Brit wedding (thats when my heart sunk).  They went to the wedding came back around 1.15 am which was no prob with us.  No show next morning for breakfast (somewhat expected).  Finally came down around 1 pm with suitcases and announced they were moving on as they had an invite to stay with friends and would pay for 3rd night so no problem there either.  However the look on the girl's face sparked alarm bells and the fact they had been up in their room all morning as if they were waiting for us to go out so they could disappear.  I shot upstairs as they were loading their luggage in the car and found the bedding with huge stain on which went right through to the mattress (he had obviously wet the bed in a drunken state).  We immediately went out to them before they drove off and asked for money to clean the mattress.  Neither of them had any money on them, surprise, surprise.  We had little choice but to let them go, although looking back on hindsight I should have held onto their luggage in some way and told them to go and return with cash so they could have their luggage back.   Obviously the stain cannot be sorted so we wrote to the couple with a Paypal request for a large contribution to a new mattress and thankfully they have done the decent thing and just paid us.  All upsetting and unnecessary.  Sadly with a B&B there is no security deposit held, unlike a gite.  Hopefully this will never happen to us again but just wondered if anyone else had experienced damage to which they had to try and get a reimbursement. 
  11. We went to a village fete and there were a couple of "Brits" who had opened a B&B and obviously had no intention of "following the rules" - tax sejour they just scoffed at.  We are, like Quillan, legal on our B&B, our property maintenance business and our market stall.  We can sleep at night knowing we are doing everything we should, and of course paying the cotisations.  Our B&B has perfomed really well up until this year, with enquiries very few and far between at the moment, despite still being on first page on google on most searches.   If things do not improve it will probably be our worst year in the 10 years we have been in business.  When did you last see an advert on UK TV promoting France as a holiday destination?????   The only thing recently has been the dreaded "Little England".  We are in the heart of the beautiful Dordogne and it is nothing like they portray here (mostly it is filmed down around Bergerac) - although all the beautiful chateau etc they show during the programme are in our area (but that is another gripe).   If I was in gov here or the UK I would ban the dreaded camper vans .... they must have taken a lot of business away from hotels and B&B's. [:@]  We had a B&B open up round the corner from us a couple of years ago and I very much doubt if they were legal.  Overnight they stuck their B&B sign above ours on the village posts.  They priced themselves very cheap, hence they are now gone.  The gites we look after have bookings but very patchy and late starting, most have had nothing in May.  Lets hope it picks up for us all soon.  Try telling the RSI that we have had a bad year!!!!!
  12. We do not need an accountant with our regime as all normally so simple to fill in the tax form.  This declaration has been changed a little and re-named (to make it easier!!).  Have also heard about accountants and to be honest I think I would rather do without.  Have now phoned RSI and they have given us the answer.  Whether it is the right one who knows.  Tax office once, in our earlier days, showed us where to put our figures and then we got a huge bill for cotisations the following year.  Rushed back to the tax office and saw somebody else who agreed the figures were in the wrong boxes.  If they don't know what hope have we got!!!! 
  13. Agree that secondary glazing is not the best option, but when you have lots of very good quality French doors which are arched to suit the frames it is not an option to replace them - not to the pocket anyway.  Some smaller windows on the rear we could probably change.  Will have to search the net for a supplier in the UK as people often have no choice there with the listed buildings etc.   Thanks anyway. 
  14. Does anyone know of a company that supplies secondary double glazing at a realistic price!!  We had a French company give us a quote and we nearly fell over.  Our french doors and windows are slighty curved at the top which of course makes it more complicated.  We are in the Dordogne. 
  15. Can anyone tell me where I put our B&B income on this form.  We are under Micro BIC regime.  We have 2 other jobs - Property Maintenance of gites which we put under "services" - Market stall which we put under Sales - but not sure what the B&B income is classed as.  Have filled in this form now for several years but suddenly have a feeling I am not filling it in correctly.  [8-)]
  16. Your first comment is very interesting.  There are many established cdh in our area, especially in the main tourist town, that show separate price for the room (not cheap) and then an additional cost (8 or 9 euros per person) for breakfast.   If we ever get asked for a room without breakfast we have always said that there is no such price, our rates are Bed and Breakfast.  Our website provider has a very good optional extra where we can view exactly what people have searched for and which site they have been referred from and where the enquiries have come from.  Very useful detailed information and you would be amazed (well you probably wouldn't, being in the same business) what people search for.  Without this info we would not have realised that a number of the free sites are producing so much business for us.  In our experience the French, bless them, do not always like booking too far ahead.  In "silly season" the urgent phone calls and knocks on the door start with French looking for a room or rooms at the last poss minute.  Many times we have phoned and had local B&Bs phone us trying to find rooms for these people who think a room will "just be there" in August.  If there are any chd owners left out there (this forum has gone very quiet on this front) it would be interesting to hear how your enquiries/bookings are going so far this year. 
  17. We are only a 2 bedrooms and only do B&B as there are restaurants within walking distance.  We have always kept our room rates at good value and no extra charges for breakfast which is a generous one.  Our advertising is the same as all our good years and we are still on the first page of google on almost every type of search.  We have never had to rely on the Brits as normally our bookings are half Brits to half around the world.  Another B&B we know in the village is also finding it quiet.  Just seems as though someone has switched us off which is very odd this time of year.  Our website is still getting hits although these are down a little.  We have done very well with bookings in the past from a couple of free sites that always seem to pop up on the first page which is good.  We have recently come off a quite expensive site which did not produce the goods or appear on the first pages. Obviously money is tight everywhere.  Hopefully the awful weather in Blighty will encourage people to sit down soon and think of Summer.  I do agree with a comment you made in a previous post that the French need to advertise their country a lot more.  We are still getting people who had never heard of the Dordogne!!!!   Oh well, will keep paying the RSI monthy bills and hope things improve.  At least we still have our main job to do, if the gites are taking bookings that is!!!!!     
  18. Is it only us???  By now we are usually turning enquiries into bookings but this year would be nice to receive an enquiry (apart from a scam - they are still out there!!).  Have had some good years during the recession years but this is worrying and could be our worse year if things do not pick up.  Anyone else noticed a considerable downturn in interest?
  19. The viewings of our web-site are half to what they were the last 2 years, even though we are still on Page 1 of google.  However we are up on the number of nights booked by this time last year and like others have said they are for longer stays - a 14 nighter!! and a few 10 nighters in both rooms.  Also the bookings are nearly all for July & Aug already (May and June very slow).  Perhaps couples (we do not take children) are finding that it is cheaper to stay in a B&B than some of the prices charged for a gite in height of Summer.  We do not put up our prices for July & Aug.  Also this year nearly all Brits and hardly any long distance travellers which is unusual for us.   World is so unsettled so perhaps people are staying at home.  More Brits could mean they are escaping the Olympics!!!!
  20. We have no idea what she has done to try and find the owner, just that nobody has claimed her.  Not a lot we can do as cannot go storming in there and take her to the vets ourselves as we did not find her or know exactly where she was found.  Starting to cause us problems now though as dog is barking through the night whilst chained up.  Not going to be good for our chambre d'hote guests in a few months time.  Action I think will be necessary, after a chat with her, if things do not improve.  Why oh why do the French have dogs and then just leave them chained up day and night!!!
  21. Our French neighbour has found a very young female German Shepherd.  She says she has tried finding the owner without success but we are not convinced she has looked too hard.  Dog is now tied up outside almost all day and night.  Not sure where she found the dog but we are near Sarlat and I think she works in Le Bugue so could be anywhere around that area in the Dordogne.  Trying not to get too involved but would like to see the dog reunited with its owner.  Dog appeared at our neighbours just before New Year.
  22. Warning, sorry if this has been mentioned before. We were told a while ago about a scam letter which people are receiving supposed to be from the RSI requesting a one off payment of 625 Euros. Low and beyhold we received one yesterday. If we had not been warned we may well have paid it, although the letter is a black and white print and not the usual RSI headed paper. Please check if you get one of these before handing over any money!!
  23. On section 2 (red section) of this form you have to enter the total amount of cotisations paid in previous year. Does that include the Tax Prof (as it was)? Also I know where to enter our main income in section 1, but where do you put the income from a B&B. We have always followed the guide we were given once after a visit to RSI, but still always have doubts if we have been doing it correctly.
  24. We also came to France 9 years ago and work in the Dordogne doing changeovers, pool cleaning and some gardening. It is extremely hard work and work is getting harder to find with so many Brits returning to the UK. Also the exchange rate means they are holding onto their money more. However, what does make us so cross is when people advertise offering to pay a rate as low as 12 euros per hour (think we have had this discussion before). When you have to pay approx 45% to the system do people really expect someone to graft for 6 euros an hour??? Please be realistic. We can all potter out in the garden cutting the grass for an hour or so, then stop for a break a cup of tea etc and do a little bit more the next day. If you actually stopped and added up the time it has actually taken to cut that grass or the hedge (and clear it all away) you would probably get a surprise. If people cannot make a living and have to go back then who will be left to look after the holiday homes.
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